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Wonder Woman 1984

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures'

Simon Dillon, 16th Jan 2021
Tags: Life Review Action Adventure Fantasy

I’ll cut to the chase: 'Wonder Woman 1984' is almost as good as the first film. 

Director Patty Jenkins has crafted another heroic adventure with excitement, humour, and heart to spare. That said, it’s worth adding as a caveat that I haven’t seen a new fully-fledged superhero film all year (I’m not counting 'Birds of Prey' or 'The New Mutants'), so perhaps my enthusiasm should be taken with a tiny pinch of salt, especially as I was fortunate enough to see it at the cinema. Not everyone will be able to, alas, but if you can, do make the effort.

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The Washington DC set plot concerns Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) working with fellow archaeological specialist Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), and old flame Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), to identify the origin of a mysterious stone with apparent wish-granting magical powers.

The bizarre return of Steve, who died heroically in the World War I timeline of the previous film, is evidence enough that the stone’s power is real. Thickening the plot is failed oil-businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), who wants the stone for his own nefarious ends.

The most thrilling action was in the opening flashback to Diana’s childhood participation in a brutally difficult sporting competition.

The action sequences are well done, especially the vehicular chase seen so prominently in the trailers. However, for me the most thrilling action was in the opening flashback to Diana’s childhood participation in a brutally difficult sporting competition, and the foiled robbery sequence that immediately follows, in a 1984 DC shopping mall.

Wonder Woman as a child
Image Credit: Tenor

Speaking of the 80s, the vibes of that decade amuse but don’t distract from the film. Yes, Frankie Goes to Hollywood is playing in the background, and there are jokes about parachute pants, but besides 80s nostalgia, action, and special effects, there are some very engaging performances. What I enjoyed most is the romantic element, played beautifully between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. Jenkins cleverly inverts the fish-out-of-water scenario of the first film, this time with Pine as the fish.

Gadot is iconic in the lead.

I should reiterate that Gadot is iconic in the lead, as per the previous film, and again inviting comparison with the equally iconic Christopher Reeve in the classic Superman films of yesteryear. Certain sequences reminded me a Superman II in particular, what with fights in the White House, and having to choose between love and superpowers.

Wonderwoman 1984
Image Credit: Tenor

Kristen Wiig is equally good, and her character arc is well thought through. Without getting too heavy handed, Jenkins alludes to #MeToo concerns (with Gadot as well), and there is some surprising, obviously unplanned contemporary resonance in Maxwell Lord’s descent into madness; a role played superbly by Pedro Pascal. He simply cannot bear to be thought of as a “loser”.

Wonder Woman 1984 is a very enjoyable sequel.

It is arguably a little baggy in places, and it doesn’t really break new ground, but all things considered, Wonder Woman 1984 is a very enjoyable sequel. It even has a touch of season-appropriate spiritual wisdom, with themes of being careful what you wish for, personal sacrifice for the greater good, and the power of unconditional love.

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